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New update: 24 hours after placing the purple barnacle cluster in my tank......Miss Priscilla found a nice comfy place in 1 of the barnacles. She has since been moved to her new tank as well as her new friend (male). Haven't named him yet but I figured that she had a 30 gal to herself so I may as well add a male too.
Thank you for all the info. I will get a pic of the 2 of them soon and post it. The male appears a little larger but not by much. These will be the only 2 living things in this tank unless its live food! I do have a few small snails,grass shrimp and copepods.
I'm always glad to know that some of my suggestions work out. Like human children and cats, you can't always count on octopuses to behave as you expect.
We have had excellent luck keeping siblings together as well as animals that were captured living in close quarters (same live rock). This leads us to believe mercs are one of the few octopuses that can be successfully housed together. However, we have occasionally seen one animal die when pairing unfamiliar animals. I believe this has only happened (partially because it the infrequency of trying it) within the first 2 weeks of acclimation and may have nothing to do with placing animals together. My lack of pairing concern is mostly based upon the fact that none of the dead animals were eaten.
If you have a male and female you will almost be guaranteed to have hatchlings. They are not easy to raise but are one of two commonly raised and the only species where we have had multiple generations journalled. Five seems to be the prevailing number of full lifespan offspring, regardless of the number of hatchlings (6 to 100+ have been journalled). Our two longest journals, GHolland's Varys and my Trapper, may come in handy for what to expect (there are forward links in the parent journals to the children and grandchildren of both mercs)